In Uganda, district governments are responsible for providing vital public services such as healthcare and education, but government accountability is relatively weak, leading to under-provision and low quality of services. Researchers worked with IPA to evaluate the impact of a program designed to improve local government accountability and the provision of services: disseminating information to citizens about district politicians’ performance via scorecards.
Basic “pre-math” skills in young children have been shown to be important for developing later mathematics competency. In Paraguay, where math scores are lower than other Latin American countries, and where there is great variation in math abilities among young children, the government adapted a pre-math curriculum into audio lessons in kindergarten classrooms. Results showed an increase in math scores and narrowing of gaps between many demographic groups.
In 2009 well over a million Filipino citizens worked overseas, collectively sending home billions of dollars in remittances. The majority of overseas workers come from urban areas. This project explores some of the barriers to migration for rural inhabitants, such as lack of information, credit constraints, and the complex Philippines passport process.
Students in Peru have historically ranked poorly in math and science in comparative tests across South America. The Peruvian government is seeking to test a new science curriculum which moves away from traditional rote memorization to hypothesis testing and inquiry. In two pilots in Lima Province, a random sample of classrooms’ teachers received training in a new style of teaching, and the classrooms were provided with hands-on materials to work with.
Despite expanding access to sanitary options such as community toilets, many individuals, especially in urban slums, continue to practice open defecation. One potential explanation is that open defecation has become an ingrained habit.
People give to charity for different and multiple reasons. Understanding why people donate may help organizations improve their messaging to potential donors, increase their revenue, and conduct additional programming to achieve their mission. Researchers examined whether individuals gave more after receiving information about a charity’s impact.
In countries like Benin, where the rural population suffers from poor health, health education is often viewed as a needed compliment to microcredit, as illness can prevent borrowers from repaying their loans. In this study, researchers partner with non-profit Freedom from Hunger and a microfinance institution in Benin to evaluate the impact on health and social outcomes of integrating health education into female only or mixed-gender group microcredit meetings.
When smallholder farmers see how fertilizer increases their yields, they may continue using it. In this study in Mozambique, where very few farmers use agricultural inputs, researchers evaluate if giving farmers fertilizer subsidies encourages them to continue using fertilizer when subsidies run out. This study also measures the impact of coupling the subsidies with different types of savings accounts.
Poor subsistence farmers often see adoption of new technologies, such as hybrid seeds, as risky because they fear the up-front investment will not pay off and they could be worse off, particularly in the case of drought. Yet new technologies can help farmers produce more food. So what happens if the risk of trying a new technology is removed? Few studies have evaluated whether providing insurance can increase the adoption of profitable agricultural technologies.
Trade credit, which is usually provided by up-stream suppliers to down-stream firms, can help small businesses to purchase non-perishable goods for resale and free up resources for other uses. However, provision of trade credit may be limited by high transaction costs, up-stream liquidity constraints, and concerns over repayment.
How important are differences of opinion within the household for making financial decisions? In this study, married couples in rural Kenya were given the opportunity to open joint and individual bank accounts at randomly assigned interest rates. Researchers assessed if couples with different preferences worked together to save in the highest return account, or if these differences led to poor financial choices.
We evaluate a unique "commitment" savings account, in which individuals restrict their right to withdraw funds until they have reached a self-specified goal. Clients are also given the option to automate transfers from a primary account into the commitment savings account, and given the option of buying a lockbox to store their money, with only the bank possessing a key. The account helped people save more after one year, and increased decision making power for women in the household.
Limited awareness of risk factors for maternal mortality, particularly among men, may contribute to persistently high death rates in sub-Saharan Africa, while raising awareness could increase demand for family planning and lower death rates. Researchers partnered with Zambia’s Ministry of Health and local NGOs to evaluate how providing information to men and women about maternal mortality risk impacts their knowledge of risk and demand for family planning, as well as maternal and child heal
Little is known about how communication between spouses influences financial decisions, and if women and men allocate money differently when they have decision-making power. In this study, married couples in the Philippines were randomly assigned to one of four groups to evaluate how information and communication affect how money is allocated in the household. Results suggested the level of privacy with which one makes financial decisions plays a larger role than gender.
Despite the prevalence of female entrepreneurs in developing countries, recent research suggests that women do not benefit from loans and grants in the same way that men do, leading to questions about the value of offering financial services to female entrepreneurs.
Many agricultural technologies with demonstrated productivity gains are not adopted by farmers. Without reliable and persuasive sources of information, farmers may hesitate to adopt new inputs and techniques. Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation to test the impact of leveraging social networks to disseminate information about two technologies, pit planting and “Chinese composting,” on farmers’ adoption of these methods.